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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Almond-Flax Cinnamon Porridge + Ugly Truth About GMOs

Almond-Flax Cinnamon Porridge (vegan, gluten-free & sugar-free)

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal. I grew up starting my day with french toast, pancakes, waffles, breakfast burritos/omelets with eggs, cheese, & bacon/sausage, oatmeal, pop tarts, cereal... and many times even ending my day with breakfast. Breakfast for dinner anyone? Between you and me, that's the way to my heart.

But things have changed. I cannot ignore the knowledge I have acquired regarding what goes into our food and the ugly truth about agribusiness (large-scale farming involved in producing, processing, distributing, & marketing agricultural products). The truth is, the big corporations that grow, supply, and advertise the food we eat, are making us sicker and sicker. Just look at Monsanto (click this link to watch the documentary exposing them), one of the United States' largest agricultural biotechnology companies. Monsanto produces genetically modified seeds claiming that farmers will be able to control weeds and reduce costs by spraying these genetically modified crops with their notorious pesticide product, Roundup herbicide, the best-selling weed killer in the world.

Genetically modified foods have been available for less than two decades and the long-term effects are unknown; however, growing evidence shows that there is more harm than good being done to the environment, consumers and farmers. For example, Roundup has caused herbicide-resistant weeds called "superweeds", which now grow on over 14 million acres along with genetically enginereed soy, corn and cotton crops, according to the Environmental Working Group. To combat this problem, chemical companies want to create more GE seeds that will withstand even stronger pesticides. Huh?!? If that's the case, we're all going to turn into one big blob of a chemical and then drop dead.

With food allergies and chronic illnesses on the rise, denaturing the very thing that sustains our health with genetic alterations and chemicals is absurd and is driven by greed and profit. Your health and the health of our children is of no concern to these giant food and pharmaceutical corporations.

60+ countries have required the labeling of genetically modified foods, however, the United States has not. Millions of U.S. citizens, including myself, have expressed concerns over the right to know what's in our food. According to the University of Florida, it is estimated that 60-70% of the food in grocery stores contain genetically modified ingredients. That is downright frightening.

Let me step off of my soap box and move on to the delicious breakfast recipe at hand...

Before I eat anything, I always start my morning with warm water (not boiling as you don't want to destroy its vitamins and enzymes) and the juice of half a lemon (or 1 Tbs). This is the electric tea kettle I use and absolutely love! Lemon is a powerful fruit. It works to cleanse your body of toxins by flushing your liver, which is our largest detoxifying organ. According to A.F. Beddoe, author of "Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition," lemons assist the liver in producing more enzymes than any other food. It also gives your immune system a boost thanks to its vitamin C content. Ongoing cleansing is vital for optimal long-term health and proper assimilation of nutrients - consuming lemon with warm water first thing every morning is a great way to incorporate this principle into your life!

With my transition to a clean diet, I've had to seek out healthy alternatives to my favorite breakfast foods that wouldn't leave me feeling dissatisfied or hungry. 

Almond-flax cinnamon porridge has been a staple breakfast for me. It's packed with protein, fiber, and calcium. The cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Plus, it's light so it doesn't weigh me down. I realized that eating a heavy meal for breakfast for so many years drained me. I felt tired mid-day even after getting plenty of sleep. When I lightened up my breakfasts, my energy soared. Since adopting this healthy lifestyle, I haven't needed nor desired caffeine to get me through the day. A clean diet of whole, unprocessed foods and eating light to heavy has restored my vitality. Drink a green smoothie (my recipe coming soon) before eating the porridge if you think you'll still be hungry. I typically do this to keep me satiated.

Almond-Flax Cinnamon Porridge

YIELD: 1 serving

• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 3 heaping Tbs ground raw unsalted almonds, whole almonds soaked overnight *See note
• 1 heaping Tbs ground flaxseed *See note
• 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I add a lot of cinnamon)
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
• Liquid stevia, to taste

Optional toppings *See note
• 1/2 green apple
• 1/2 banana
• 1/2 pear

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the almond milk, ground almonds, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir occasionally.
2. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the porridge starts to thicken.
3. Pour into a bowl and add liquid stevia and fruit, if desired. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

• To soak the almonds, place in a bowl or container and fill with enough filtered water to cover them, about 1 or 2 inches above the almonds. Put them in the refrigerator to soak overnight. Rinse thoroughly before you dry them and grind them. Nuts and seeds (I don't soak flaxseeds, see note below) need to be soaked in order to remove the toxic enzyme inhibitors coating them. Doing this makes them easier to digest and activates essential nutrients you would miss out on if unsoaked. The purpose of enzyme inhibitors is to keep the nuts and seeds from sprouting too soon. When moistened, they're given the green light to germinate (grow or develop) into a plant.
• The reason I don't soak flaxseeds is because they swell up and become gel-like when combined with a liquid, much like chia seeds, which makes them impossible to grind. So I grind them dry, just the way they are. Any tips for this?
• I grind the almonds in a coffee grinder as shown below, or you can use a food processor or bullet. 

Through experience, I've found that it's best to eat fruit on an empty stomach or with greens when possible, which is why fruit is optional here. When fruit gets stuck trying to digest behind heavier foods, it can cause gas and bloating. Also, it makes sense that you may reap its nutritional benefits more effectively when eaten alone since it digests so quickly. I've noticed a big difference in my digestive health when practicing this principle. But I understand that everyone will have a different preference! Do what makes you feel best. :-) I have to admit, this porridge tastes wonderful with all of the fruits suggested.

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it's going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming." -Unknown


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